Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Week 21

Monday: I started my week by becoming a legal temporary resident of Munich. I had to do this because I have been here longer than a standard visa allows. It was a kind of crazy process dealing with agencies that are only open from 8 to 12, but now it's all done. Dealing with their hours of operation also meant I missed a little bit school which I didn't want to do but business needed to be taken care of.

When I did finally get back to class it just after lunch and we went straight into starting a group project where we are given a scenario where we need to come up with a plan then, present it later. We have done this before in previous segments, but this time it's graded. I think we will do well though.
After that we had an hour and a half lecture on yeast propagation in the microbiology lab. At the end we actually propagated some wort with fresh culture yeast from slant agar. After school was over I spent the next two hours being filmed and interview for a kind of "top secret" project that I am involved in. We ended the night with some food and beer from Hirschgarten which is the largest beer garden in Munich. There is also a pen with goats and deer in it, it's kind of weird.

Propagated yeast in the incubator

Tuesday: We were up bright and early and in a van headed to Augsberg to go brew a batch of beer at the Riegele brewery. The facility was amazing. They had a 1 hl pilot system for us to brew on.

They had already planned for us to brew another IPA, so that's what we did. The brewmaster hung around for a bit to show us how the system worked then left saying "You are brewers, you know what to do". It was a great experience. The guys doing the filming for the "top secret" project were also able to film a bunch of stuff there as well.
Riegele is pretty special for a few reasons. Their owner is the 2nd world champion beer sommelier ever (I met the first in Austria in April). The second great thing about the brewery is their pilsner. I guess it wins the European Beer Star award every year. I can believe it. It has a nice malty flavor, with a nice bitterness. It finishes dry with a floral hop character to it. They left quite a bit of it for us to drink.

We hit all of our numbers for the IPA, and sent it to the fermenter. The whole experience reminded me of homebrewing a lot. They gave us a nice tour of the brewery after we finished brewing and cleaning up. One of the highlights was touring the maturation cellar. They blast Beethoven for the beer to mature to. It was pretty awesome.

They were very gracious hosts as is usual around here. When we got back Robbie, Kyle and I met up with the guys that were filming at Wilderhirsch for food and beer. The director of our program showed up and joined us. It was nice to sit and talk and enjoy some great beer, some great food, with some great company in an amazing place.

Wednesday: We started our morning doing work on our group project. Then we started the first of many lectures on Cleaning and Disinfecting. After a quick lunch we took a field trip over to the Spaten Brewery located near the main train station in Munich. The tour was an interesting one. They have a giant facility. They also are connected to the Franziskaner and Lowenbrau brands as well as the sight it self. Imagine a two block wide by two blocks long brewing compound. We only toured the Spaten side though. Part of the tour was the museum in the basement. They has a lot of interesting memorabilia including a bottle of Lowerbrau that was on board the Hindenburg.  After the tour we went up in their tower to the special events braustubel and enjoyed some good beer with some amazing views.

The tower

On board the Hindenburg.

Looking east towards Munich
We ended the evening with an evening of conversation and drinks at the Augustiner Keller bier garden. It was fun though slightly regretted the next day.

Thursday: Thursday was very similar to Wednesday. We started the day doing group project work, had a Cleaning and Disinfecting lecture then this time went to Paulaner Brewery. They are loactated on the east side of the Isar river in Munich. The facility is huge too with an annual production of 2.8 million hectoliters. They not only produce Paulaner products but Hacker Pschorr as well. The tour was really nice and they gave us free beer and lunch afterwards. I opted for the Salvator Dopplebock for my beer. I have had it before but never at the brewery where it was made.

This doesn't work anymore

Maturation tanks


Friday: The morning consisted of doing more group project work, followed by a Beer Styles lecture/tasting. This time we finished our talk about Berliner Weisse, and then moved on to Gueze and Lambics. The three beers we tried were the Boon Gueze, Boon Kriek, and De Ranke Kriek. The Gueze was highly carbonated. So much so that when I freed the wire cage the cork shot straight off. I was not the only one this happened to either. I prefered the De Ranke out of all of them. The Gueze is good, it's just not my favorite. The Boon Kriek reminds me of cherry cough drops. The De Ranke is nice and dry, has a good Brett character and has a bit more acidic acid in it. After class, I went to the very far north of Munich to pick up a special package dealing with the "top secret" project. It was quite an adventure.


Saturday: I spent the majority of the day studying, relaxing and cleaning up my place. One of my classmates who lives in the same building was celebrating his birthday, so we decided to open up some nicer beers. I brought up an Orval, plus we had a Rodenbach Grand Cru, but the true icing on his barley based birthday cake was a bottle of  Cantillon St. Lamvinus. This is such a wonderful beer. It was a great pleasure to share this beer with some good guys.

Later in the evening Kyle, and Robbie came over to help me out with trying the contents of the package acquired on Friday. Part of the "top secret" project is that I designed a beer recipe that may be used in someone's project or business rather. They sent me a bottle of the first test batch, that is beyond what I have homebrewed already. The beer is a pilsner. With it I was trying to get the higher bitterness and the dry/malty/crisp finish of a northern German pils, coupled with Saaz hop finish of the Bohemian Pilsners. I really feel the test batch represents that well. There are a few things I might change but over all I really enjoyed the beer. 


Sunday: I wish I could say I did something fun and exciting but alas laundry needed doing and schoolwork needed studying. One thing that has been occuring this week is the realization that my days here in Munich are numbered. Along with this comes the planning and organizing I need to do to first get home, then when I do get home, I think I have a pretty good plan with some good possibilities on the horizon, but time will tell. Until then my head is down focused mostly on school work but is sometimes easily distracted when I think about going home, because I am ready to be there now (sigh).

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